Saturday, July 23, 2011

"The Cost of Delaying Marriage" Article Review

Please know that I am not trying to be offensive to anyone by posting these articles.  I think they are interesting  because of the way that I felt growing up, the messages I heard and, even after I became a believer in college, continued to hear.  This is a side of the feminist message that you rarely hear.  I encourage you to read both articles in their entirety.

The Cost of Delaying Marriage by Danielle Crittenden

“We strengthen a muscle by using it, and that is true of the heart and mind, too. By waiting and waiting and waiting to commit to someone, our capacity for love shrinks and withers. This doesn't mean that women or men should marry the first reasonable person to come along, or someone with whom they are not in love. But we should, at a much earlier age than we do now, take a serious attitude toward dating and begin preparing ourselves to settle down. For it's in the act of taking up the roles we've been taught to avoid or postpone — wife, husband, mother, father — that we build our identities, expand our lives, and achieve the fullness of character we desire.”

Although I married relatively young, I still heard, thought, and discussed many of the arguments stated in the next article:  Defending the “Cost of Delaying Marriage” by Candice Watters.  I can identify with many of the ideas presented in this article and can’t tell you how many times I discussed the following ideas with my friends during college:

Jesus is EnoughI’m not sure where this idea came from, but the author is right that “this belief seems to be an emerging motto of Christian singles everywhere”, particularly, from my experience, among Christian collegiates who are in the midst of training for future careers while coming to terms with God’s purpose of marriage and family.  I believed in college that wanting to be married somehow showed that I was not “completely satisfied” in my relationship with Jesus Christ.  In fact, this reasoning led to a completely unnecessary break-up between me and my husband for a time.  The truth is, I have never walked more deeply with the Lord since being married.

“For everyone else, the call is to marriage. To marry doesn't diminish the need for Christ. In fact, it increases it: The reason Christian marriage requires a vow is that no mere promise is enough to hold two mortals together for life. We're dependent on Christ to help us fulfill it. ”

It’s Not My Fault – Marriage is certainly not a priority on many young men’s minds.  But the author has a lot of wisdom on how young women aren’t exactly helping them get to that point:

“Now to you women, that's not an excuse to bash men. You have an important ability to help them move toward marriage. How? By esteeming it. By not being embarrassed about wanting it. By going after it -- to a point. You can nurture men toward marriage by helping them see that it contains a lot of what they're looking for, even if they don't yet know it.”

Singles Have More Fun – I’m not sure this is something my friends and I discussed in college, but it is certainly a pervasive message in modern culture and is glamorized in movies and tv shows like Sex and the City.  I think the first article has a lot to say about the reality of this situation, but for the Christian, there’s a deeper reason for marriage:  God called us to it.

“It's not about identity. It's about obedience. When it comes to marriage, we don't need a burning bush to know if it's God's will. He's already told us it is. If we're not specially gifted to be celibate, we're called to marriage. There's no third option; no lifestyle choice to remain single because it's more fun or more fulfilling or more spiritual than being married. Yes, if you're gifted with a calling to celibacy, a la Paul, then that is your duty. But if you're not -- and Scripture is clear that most of us aren't -- then our calling is marriage.”

Men are Jerks – Another pervasive cultural message that can be found in most media and women-oriented magazines (ironically right next to another article entitled something like, “How to Please Your Man”).   I know many young Christ-centered men who are anything but jerks and would be wonderful husbands.  By perpetuating this message to girls, how exactly are we setting up the future for young men and women?

There is much more to read in the article, and I encourage you to check it out.

Were you taught to believe any of these things?


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